Clinical trials are not about laboratories and test tubes. They are about real-people fighting disease and getting access to the most effective medical treatments.
As all people and cancer tumours are different, clinical trials are needed to test the effectiveness of different types and combinations of treatments for particular groups of tumours and people.
Treatments generally include a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and specialist drugs (chemotherapy). These treatments need to be administered in the optimal combination to ensure that the best patient outcomes can be achieved.
Benefits of clinical trials to patients
– Patients have immediate access to the latest treatments
– Standard treatments can be introduced three to five years earlier if trials are conducted in Australia.
– Improved cure rates
– Improved quality-of-life during treatment.
The AGITG co-ordinates clinical trials within Australia and New Zealand and in collaboration with international research groups.
Clinical trials are divided into four categories:
1. Trials in development — Trials currently being assessed by the Scientific Advisory Committee.
2. Trials open to patient recruitment — These trials are recruiting patients at hospital sites. The trial managers and coordinators work closely with site staff to collect data and monitor patient progress.
3. Trials in follow-up — These trials have reached their recruitment target. Patients may still be receiving treatment and their progress is being monitored and assessed for long-term effects of treatment, whilst data is being collected. Initial results are being processed and may be presented at research conferences and in research publications.
4. Completed trials — These trials have ended. Patients are no longer being treated and the results of the study may be published in scientific journals and in the media. Often the results will affect clinical practice, the treatment of future patients and new trial development.